WVU Women Advance to WNIT Third Round
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Mountaineers opened Sunday’s WNIT second-round game at the WVU Coliseum against the St. Joseph’s Hawks on a 10-0 run and never led by less than six the rest of the way, winning by a final of 79-51.
WVU (23-11) advances to face James Madison in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 7 p.m.
“We did what we had to do to win,” WVU coach Mike Carey said. “(James Madison) is playing very well right now, so we’ll have our hands full.”
Naomi Davenport scored 18 points and Katrina Pardee and Kristina King added 15 each.
Teana Muldrow finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, passing Kate Bulger (1,741 to 1,733) for fifth in school history in scoring.
Muldrow has an excellent chance of finishing fourth, now just 10 points behind Talisha Hargis’ mark.
On the glass, Muldrow now has 941 career rebounds, eclipsing Lanay Montgomery’s 937 for fourth.
The 14th double-double of Muldrow’s career also moved her into sole possession of fifth on that school leaderboard; she previously had been tied with Maria Tchobanova.
“It feels good,” Muldrow said of the win, which, when she takes the court on Thursday, will extend the longest career in the history of the program to 141 games. “I want the season to go on forever.”
The Mountaineers had a 32-12 edge in points off of turnovers, forcing 22 turnovers, half of those on steals.
“It’s just playing hard. Getting up the lanes and talking and communicating,” Carey said. “When you do that you’re going to create some turnovers.”
St. Joseph’s was led by 15 points from Chelsea Woods.
“Very, very proud of our team,” SJU head coach Cindy Griffin said. “To make it this far, to win a first-round game and coming in here and being able to compete with what I think is an NCAA team…our kids really battled today. They never hung their heads.”
WVU missed its first five shots but also kept St. Joseph’s off the board.
“I thought we started the game by getting up the lanes and taking them out of their stuff,” Carey said.
The Mountaineers turned that strong defense into offense, scoring two layups in transition.
Pardee’s 3-and harm extended the opening run to 10-0 with 5:27 left in the first quarter.
“You try to prepare a team for what’s going to happen after you watch film. And you know that it’s going to be difficult with their athleticism, their size and their ability to get out on screens and really try to change the tempo,” Griffin said. “I just think we came out tentative for whatever reason and they jumped on it.”
WVU went up 15-2 on a King three-point play and a Muldrow layup and led 17-4 at the 2:07 mark.
“We were getting on hands on everything. Katrina did a great job of getting steals and deflections and just disrupting them.”
But St. Joseph’s closed the first quarter on a 6-0 run, trailing 17-10.
WVU twice took double-digit leads on Davenport 3s in the second quarter, the latter coming at the 6:41 mark to make it a 27-15 contest.
“I kept taking her out and taking her out and taking her out. She finally hit a bucket, and that’s the best thing that could have happened,” Carey said of Davenport.
“I started getting up the lanes a little bit more, getting a few rebounds. It started on defense for me,” Davenport said.
Leading 29-19, WVU held St. Joseph’s without a point for nearly four minutes and to just three points in the final 5:18 of the half, taking a 37-22 advantage to the locker room.
WVU was very balanced offensively, getting nine points from King and eight apiece from Davenport, Muldrow and Pardee; Harden had the other four.
The Mountaineers had a 10-2 edge in fast break points and were plus-10 in points off turnovers, 14-4.
An 8-2 WVU run, with Davenport scoring four, forced another Hawks timeout with the Mountaineers leading 45-26 and 6:35 left in the third quarter.
“What makes them very good is that they’re an older team,” Griffin said. “They’ve played together for a long time. So even if they make a mistake on a switch, they’re quick enough and smart enough to recover on it. We couldn’t take advantage of it quickly enough.”
Trailing 51-30, the Hawks made an 8-0 run, getting four from Woods, to close within 13 with 1:45 left in the period.
“We didn’t get what we needed from our bench, especially offensively and defensively,” Carey said.
West Virginia led by 15, 55-40, going to the fourth quarter.
The final score was the largest margin.
St. Joseph’s ends the year with a 19-15 record.
WVU improves to 11-0 all-time in WNIT games at the Coliseum and are now 12-3 overall under Carey in the tournament.